It began in the latter days of the Korean conflict when North Korean negotiators kept stalling the Panmunjom “peace” talks while North Korean troops kept attacking at places like “Old Baldy.” Recognized for what it was, a North Korean, Russian and Chinese assessing whether UN troops had the guts to continue fighting over useless territory and if not then there would be no “peace.” At least that’s how the politicians assessed it and so UN, read American, troops would continue to die defending a Sisyphean hill. Like Sisyphus they saw no reason to push the bolder up the hill but it was decreed by the political gods. The troops began to mutter that they were not being treated as human beings but merely as political pawns, and they were right.
Then in Vietnam every single soldier, sailor and airman who fought knew it was a war that should never have happened. The South Vietnamese didn’t understand democracy and any vote would simply be window dressing for the cabals and war lords who ran the country. The politicians preached Domino Theory of Southeast Asian states falling to the Communists and all military actions had to be strained through the political sieve before they could be taken. That the SV government was corrupt seemed not to bother the politicians nor did the penetration of that government by Chinese and Norther Vietnamese spies. At the end the communists did win and 60,000 Americans died and the U.S. was riven in twain by the politicians inability to understand either the nature of warfare or the cultural imperatives that shape conflict. Again those who were recruited and drafted to defend the USA died in a foreign land.
Although there were those who cautioned against sending forces into Afghanistan the politicians did not listen and we endured another drain on resources and human life that did not need to occur. Thank you Dick Chaney and Donald Rumsfeld. Using all our National Guard forces for multiple deployments to hill top garrisons we once again fought to bring democracy to a society more fragmented than the Vietnamese had ever been. A society mired in the fourteenth century. A society that could not conceive of that which is required to make and maintain a democracy.
Given today’s society those who have fought for the United States have begun to question whether the current society is worth fighting for. Why would you defend the “Right” of someone to loot a store or to have career criminals lionized at their deaths? Why would you defend politicians who obviously demonstrate loyalty to party above loyalty to law?
Yes, it began sometime ago but just as other ideas are getting the headlines, mistrust and disaffection of the combat forces have become an abscess that is poisoning the body. Can sepsis be far behind?